Design byME to close in January

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More bad news from LEGO, I'm afraid:

The LEGO Group is closing that part of the Design byMe customization service that allows consumers to order digital models in real bricks. We will be accepting orders until January 16, 2012.

Consumers will still be able to design what they want with LEGO Digital Designer and upload models into a public gallery as before. All existing models will be transferred to a new gallery on the LDD website. Consumers will also be able to download the instructions generated from LEGO Digital Designer.

The HERO Recon Team Hero Creator will be unchanged and consumers will still be able to build and buy their own customized Hero. Bricks can be bought separately, using the Pick a Brick service http://shop.lego.com/en-US/Pick-A-Brick-ByTheme .

This is not the end of customization for the LEGO Group, but a revision. We believe in the future of customization, but the service we offer has to be right for our consumers and Design byME has proven to be too complex for children.

The original Design byMe vision was for a unique customization service, where consumers could design whatever they imagined, display it and get the model sent to them in their own LEGO box. Design byMe as a concept attracts several million people each year to build a huge range of amazing creations using the LEGO Digital Designer (LDD) software. Despite this success, the overall Design byMe experience has struggled to live up to the quality standards for a LEGO service.

Over the years, we have also added other simpler customized building experiences like Hero Recon Team. The feedback from Design byMe users has taught us that we would need to rebuild the entire setup of Design byMe to fix this. This would only make the service too expensive.

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First Universe closing and now this. I never used the service -- I felt it was prohibitively expensive -- but I know a lot of people that have and I'm sure a lot of you will miss it.

44 comments on this article

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By in New Zealand,

Wow, Design By Me closing eh? That's interesting news indeed.
Even more interesting is the fact that LDD isn't being scrapped.

Maybe they are closing buy from LDD instead of Pick-a-Brick because:
* You get parts cheaper through LDD
* Nobody uses P-A-B because of above reason.

Ah well, I used to use LDD, but gave it up because it slows your computer.
Did anybody actually buy their models in LDD anyway? I wanted to, but never did.

Good that TLG are keeping the LDD and Hero Recon Team thing, because I know that lots of people like it and use it.

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By in United Kingdom,

What? No! Oh well, it was never as good as real bricks anyway! Hope TLG aren't losing too much money!
By the way, I'm officially back on Brickset!

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By in United Kingdom,

I used the service a couple of times and found it to be excellent; it was great to be able to design something using LDD, tweak it until it was right, press a button, and have all the parts arrive on your doorstep with instructions and in a custom box. Yes, it was expensive, but given that someone had to actually pick the bricks by hand it's not surprising. And clearly the expense wasn't enough to make the service profitable enough to continue....

"Too complex for children" eh ?! Hard to believe that this was the reason for the decision - if actually true, you would have thought they might have looked into this aspect before launching the service in the first place

Strange times at LEGO HQ - huge profits, and yet "Universe" is on the way out, and now this.

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By in Germany,

I guess the closing of LU and this are the result of an expenses review. LEGO are trying to flush out products that are both expensive to maintain and not profitable enough. This is my opinion.

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By in United States,

Perhaps this is the cost of having superheroes in the lines

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By in United States,

I used it once to buy a bus I made in LDD. $80 and it didn't have wheels or windows since I have them. Later I found out I can buy the parts cheaper on Pick a Brick, but more of a pain since you need to see what parts you need.

Hope LEGO doesn't get rid of Pick-a-Brick though. I need to make another order soon :)
Also keep the LDD universe mode, I love trying new techniques without taking my LEGO bricks out

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By in United Kingdom,

As long as they keep LDD updated, and PAB running I'm happy. There's a piece of code over at Eurobricks that lets you order direct from PAB, and save money in doing so.

@LEGOSLUG - where did you get that from? PAB has always been cheaper than LDD/DBM/FACTORY

Maybe we'll finally get the pick list feature back that LDD had originally - if they're not trying to sell you the model you have created. I will miss Design By Me mode for ordering through PAB, as it eliminated the need to check if the brick you were using is buyable.

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By in Italy,

WHAT!!!!!

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN!!!!!!!

Its the day before my celebration of one year at Brickset AND I HEAR THIS!!!!!????

I never used Lego Universe (I prefer Flash Games) but I did use this! I even made a Lego account just to use this! I uploaded more than 25 models under the username "modena", but I never ordered. The prices were too expensive. Buying the Cafe Corner would be more profitable.

And think that I just showed my friend this function 2 weeks ago! I will have to tell him...

But I don't want to see changes to LDD. Keep it as it is.

Oh, life is hard. This took some time to accept. I couldn't believe this at first. Thank you inventors of RSS.

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By in United States,

I always thought this was a genius idea, the ability to design whatever you want without having to actually have the bricks, then to have it ordered, instructions and everything!! But I never used it... Maybe now I'll use it to try to design a pirate ship and order it so I can at least say I tried it

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By in United Kingdom,

The only reason why Lego say it is 'too confusing for kids' is because some parents complained by saying that their little schnoochkin got frustrated. That's just an insult to our intelligence for god's sake!

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By in United States,

This is concerning. I love LDD, and hope it isn't next on the chopping block. One time I checked the price on a model I built, and it was so high that I decided not to order, but LDD I still use quite frequently and would hate to see that go.

Hopefully this means they will configure LDD by default to use all bricks in all colors, instead of limiting you to what is currently available to order.

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By in United States,

My mom never got the hang of LDD, she tells me. I thought it MIGHT be interesting, but according to Huw, it was expensive. So why bother? Real-life MOCs are better than digitally created ones. You might come up with something if you see a piece lying around your house! But on a program? Probably not....

PAB, on the other hand, is one of the BEST things LEGO has ever invented after the brick itself!!!

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By in Canada,

Too bad. I wonder what's next to go?

^PAB IS the greatest thing for LEGO!

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By in United States,

Aw, that's too bad. I never used Design ByMe, so it doesn't impact me, but a bummer for some.

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By in Canada,

DesignbyMe was an excellent concept. I would have used it but I found the cost prohibitive. In addition, the LDD software was a resource hog. I have used Pick-A-Brick so I'm glad they're keeping that. It's the only place where I can get windows.

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By in United States,

im not too upset about it, i use LDD a lot, i have a very sparse amount of extra bricks lying around so LDD is my main building medium, but to buy it through DBM was SOO expensive, PAB was way cheaper, i would rather go through the list and tear apart my model to find out how many bricks i needed then paying $80 for something i could get from PAB for $50, and i have on a few occasions. as long as they keep LDD im fine with this decision.

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By in United States,

At least its not as bad as losing Universe. When this disappears, I'll still be shopping for extra bricks from another specific source with more selection. With universe, we'll lose that forever.

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By in United Kingdom,

As long as they add a facility to LDD that gives you a parts printout, I'm not bothered...

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By in United States,

If I understand this correctly, PAB still will exist. Right?

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By in Australia,

I wonder if the initial result of this announcement will be an increase in people submitting DbM orders in order to get them through before the service closes?

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By in United States,

Now if only they would stop making the glued magnet sets and all will be right with the world.

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By in United States,

Design by Me was a great concept, but it was too ahead of its time. The idea of digitally designing your own model and getting it shipped to you was an above-the-head-lightbulb-moment for LEGO, but it was too ahead of its time. Manual labor is most likely the real reason this is being shut down, just think how hard it would be sorting some AFOLs HUGE, COMPLEX, model, made of tiny pieces, by HAND. The real reason, not "Mommy, this is too hard"!

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By in United States,

I've never actually bought a model that I built on LDD, it just isn't worth the money, even though they really can't have it any cheaper.

@meyerc13: You actually can use all bricks in all colors, as of version 4.

@madforlegos: You may be right. Purchasing the Licenses for Marvel and DC could be the real reason behind LU and DesignbyMe quitting

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By in United States,

This is unfortunate. I like using LDD and always wanted to order through Design-By-Me, but I never quite got a digital MOC completed to my satisfaction. And the cost was also a factor in not ordering the one's that were close to being complete.

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By in United States,

I hope that LDD is not the next to go as LEGO cleanses itself. Without LDD, I would be limited in my design process. I design a lot of projects on LDD and then order from BrickLink. I believe that LDD coupled with BrickLink is great for TLG. Many of the large stores on BrickLink purchase LEGO sets JUST to sell the parts. So in turn, LDD and BrickLink are fueling sales.

However, if the recent moves by TLG keep the company in good books, then I guess I would understand - with GREAT disappointment.

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By in Denmark,

Conspiracy theories abound! The real reason this is being shut down is nothing to do with Super Heroes, nothing to do with manual labour, nothing to do with AFOL models being too complex and hard to pick.

It was too hard for younger children to get their head around - build in a computer, buy it by getting parents to put in credit card, and if parents understood the expense was due to manual packing, buy it, wait for manual packing and postage. Receive the parts, find the model in their LDD files, and build it step by step from a computer screen, not always in an intuitive way... It is so much harder then 'be given a box and open it'. It is too complex.

Obviously not for all children, but LEGO sets are sold in the hundreds of thousands or even millions per box, a customizable set project needed to keep children coming back and buying, needed to be hitting these kind of numbers, needed to grow. It was too complex for kids to keep coming back, it was probably too expensive in parents’ eyes (and as this thread shows in AFOL eyes too) and it did not grow to the size that would have made it sustainable, it now goes away. It's a damn shame and no one wants it too but it's been given a lot longer than LEGO Universe and that's what's happened.

I've been told LDD development will continue.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ Mark, thanks for the insight. Unfortunately many people seem to find it much easier to believe a conspiracy theory than the (far simpler) truth. it's a shame Factory/DbM wasn't commercially viable, and couldn't be made to work within Lego's building values, but I think we all appreciate Lego trying these novel approaches to enhancing the building experience, even if they don't always work out in the longer term. Long may that continue!

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By in United States,

The announcement of the loss of both LEGO Universe and Design byMe (ostensibly the two revenue-generating business areas that served to shape the software into what is is today, however modest that revenue might have been) seemed like two nails in the coffin for LDD. Although the original press release/news article about DbM closing hinted that LDD was still going to be available and developed, secondary confirmation is more than welcome, thanks Mark.

I always liked the concept of DbM but, as already stated numerous times in this topic, the cost was too prohibitive and the piece/color selection was too limited. I'm sure there are a lot of other factors that drove the cost to what it was, but I always thought that a pretty easy cost-cutting measure would have been to make the custom printed box and instructions an optional add-on - I'd wager that it could have accounted for at least 10% of the over-all cost (though that's mere conjecture). I truly feel that reducing the over-all cost and increasing the selection of available parts would have made the process more enticing to T/AFOLs - I would totally pay a (modest) premium to have all the pieces necessary to build my MOCs bagged up and shipped to me lock, stock and barrel as opposed to hunting for the pieces on Bricklink/PaB. But when you can buy an official 200 piece set at retail for around $20, $25 but a DbM set comprised of 200 pieces costs more like $50, it's just a little too much to swallow. I would jump at the opportunity to buy my theoretical 200 piece set (sans box and instructions) for $35.

The other side of the coin, making it easier for children to build their own stuff, that's a bit harder to figure out. I know this sounds like it would actually add a level of complexity to the software, but as long as the interface is easy enough to use, perhaps if there were yet another palette, aside from the bricks, user-created templates and groups that had "master builder approved and designed modules" (I seem to be all about modules). Say a young LEGO designer wanted to create a plane, there could be a set of "aeronautic" modules that would include various designs for pairs of symmetrical wings, cockpits, tails, etc, that could be chosen and then modified/augmented to suit the needs of the final design. This way, depending on the age of the user, it could range from more of a guided design process to completely free-form.

Taking it a step further, if the 'guided design process' were then labelled as 'Master Builder Academy mode', it would tie LDD back into a revenue-generating aspect of the business - one that seems to be pretty popular, to boot.

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By in Netherlands,

Wow, that came as a surprise. But it's true, it's rather expensive. I actually designed and ordered four projects (for more than 500 euros total), but nowadays I'm still using LDD but ordering my pieces through Bricklink. Actually, I'm currently working on a fifth project that I want to order through DbM (for consistency with two earlier DbM projects), so at least I've got a deadline now. :-) Thank god LDD will stay around.

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By in Germany,

@Nabii: Mark, why don't you stick around more often to help explain decisions by LEGO?... ;)

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By in United States,

I never used the services due to parts and color limitations. Since they won't be selling kits or parts through LDD, it would be nice if they would expand LDD's parts database and not limit it to current pick a brick stock.

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By in United States,

@vynsane: Great ideas. I've also wanted the ability to make the box optional. The instructions were always optional if I recall correctly. In fact, I remember that LEGO warned that the instructions might be faulty, and encouraged people to not include the instructions (for the sake of saving a tree) unless they really wanted them.

I also like your modules idea. Right now, LDD has "starter models" that can be adjusted from basic to complete. I think a similar idea could be applied to your modules.

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By in Germany,

Just realised something. This is another old project. It all started with LEGO Factory, in 2005! They then just rebranded it in... 2010, I think? They are scrapping old projects!

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By in United States,

I like vynsane's module idea, and think it would totally work with kids. Plus, by having the parts in the modules pre-bagged, it would be super easy for LEGO to fill the orders.

Example: Airplane
1 Tail (Choose Module TA, TB, TC, TD, or TE)
2 Wings (Choose Module WA, WB, WC, WD or WE)
1 Body (Choose Module BA, BB, BC, BD, or BE)

You could do the same for cars, buildings, robots, etc. Bonus points to LEGO if the modules were available in different color pallets. Plus give us adults a way to get a pick-a-brick list for the models we design using today's interface.

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By in United Kingdom,

I am not too worried about this development, I, similar to many others, never quite got the courage to click 'buy' as I was never quite sure how well the model would work in real life. Hopefully this means more concentration on set quality, and less on updating the brick and colour palette.

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By in United States,

well, atleast there keeping hero recon team

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By in United States,

i also think think that there closing it cause of the economy, proof: cause there putting all the hero factory heroes and 4 of the villains in polybags

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By in United Kingdom,

What if they expanded the PAB range a little and added an 'available in PAB' mode to LDD? That should minimise the fallout from closing DbM and drive more revenue through PAB for very little extra cost to LEGO.

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By in United Kingdom,

Perhaps they could have increased DbM sales by automatically cross-linking LDD uploads to http://lego.cuusoo.com with a 'Like this concept? Buy it now' button too!

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By in Canada,

I ordered a kit of my design way back when it was still called LEGO Factory. I felt it was rather pricey but I wanted to try the experience. A short time later, LEGO increased their prices (nearly doubling them for several parts). They then changed the name to Design By Me and slapped on an extra service charge (It used to be that there was no price difference ordering the parts seperately from Pick-A-Brick or as a kit). Needless to say, I never ordered another kit. I have to say that it never was the limited choice of parts and colors that kept me from ordering more, I just saw it as an extra challenge.

Initially, the parts were supposed to be picked out by a robotic sorting system but I guess they were waiting for the volume to pick up before setting it up. As it never really did, they stayed with the hand-picked option, which kept the prices rather high.

The system and volume were such that the prices were too high for most of us. LEGO couldn't lower them to attract more customers without affecting their bottom line. Since none of this was going to change any time soon, it was inevitable that they would eventually close it down and use their resources where they were more profitable. They did give it every chance though.

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By in Germany,

@Isabella and Lego Liker: You mean... "Another one bites the dust". :P

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By in Italy,

@meyerc13

It is possible to get EVERY BRICK that has ever been made by Lego in EVERY COLOUR! I AM SERIOUS! ALREADY! It's not a joke! I can build Cargo Planes and Pink Rubber wheels with it!

You will have to activate LDD Extended. Click here (http://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=53760) to see how to do it.

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